Faculty Name

Julie Neraas

Document Type






Course Subject


Course Number


Course Section


Course Title

Special Topics: Rel and Hope

Academic Term and Year

Fall 2015



Hamline Plan Letter

D, H, W

Area of Study


Course Description

Hope is absolutely essential to human life. To live without it is to barely live at all. Many people live without love, and many live without (explicitly religious) faith, but you don’t live very well for very long without hope. In fact, if you have been lacking it for some time we send you off to a doctor for help. If it’s a sense of meaning and purpose that gets us out of bed in the morning, it is hope that keeps us on the road. Millions of people the world over find their primary source(s) of hope in a religious tradition. This can include: experiences of the Holy; a vibrant relationship with Spirit/God; a sense for our role as human beings on a shimmering planet; strategies for life in community; practices that lead to mindfulness, balance, and peace; belief in life after death, and so much more. In this course we consider: the nature of hope and the nature of religion, drawing particularly from Buddhist, Jewish, Christian and Muslim sources. We also learn from children about hope. Required texts include: No Future Without Forgiveness, Desmond Tutu; The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh; Sacred Ground, Eboo Patel; Ordinary Resurrections, Jonathan Kozol; Apprenticed to Hope: Julie Neraas; the films: Weapons of the Spirit, about French Huguenots during WWII, and Long Night’s Journey into Day, about the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa.